WTTC and World Economic Forum partner to share information and promote biometric travel

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have announced a collaboration and information exchanging agreement to shape the future of travel with biometric-enabled digital traveler identity management throughout the travel and tourism sector.

The pilot consortium for the WEF’s “Known Traveler Digital Identity” (KTDI) project launched this week, and the project was recently launched for internal testing. WTTC, meanwhile, says it has been researching more than 53 initiatives using biometrics in the sector and has identified potential emerging models, such as the KTDI, which could serve the traveler journey end-to-end. The KTDI project is expected to be trialed end-to-end for the air travel portion of journeys in 2020.

WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara pointed out that travel and tourism contribute more than 10 percent of GDP and 319 million jobs to the global economy, and 100 million jobs will be created in the sector over the next decade, or one in every five new jobs.

“Not only will we need to do things differently – as we cannot expect a near-doubling of airport capacity in the next 20 years – but we will need to do things right,” notes Guevara. “The key, therefore, is to maximize the growth in a way that ensures safe and hassle-free travel by using biometric technology. “The range of work across the sector is welcome but demonstrates the unfortunate fragmentation and complexity. The challenge is to align ourselves – in the way we are announcing today – so that all parts of the sector work on same standards and make sure the different solutions can work together and successfully achieve “interoperability” so that a traveler can move seamlessly from one part of their journey to another using biometric technology.”

Guevara expressed regret that the opportunity for a single biometric solution had been missed at IATA’s recent Annual General Meeting, and urged aviation stakeholders to adopt IATA’s One ID initiative.

“The Known Traveler Digital Identity concept was co-designed by stakeholders across the aviation, travel and tourism ecosystem with the intention of testing a platform that is scalable, interoperable and useful to all actors relying on identities in their service provision,” says Dr. Christoph Wolf, head of mobility industries and system initiative and member of the executive committee of the World Economic Forum. “As an open-source, vendor-agnostic approach that promotes privacy-by-design we see it as a mechanism towards the full alignment as desired by both industry and public sector partners. Working alongside WTTC provides the valuable opportunity to refine the framework and platform to serve all Travel and Tourism services.”

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